When working as a case officer within the UK justice system you deal with all sorts of queries – usually over the telephone. One thing you’re taught is not to try to be too helpful and certainly not to offer any advice or sound like you’re doing that. Now this is jolly difficult but you get used to helping callers without actually telling them anything and without advising them. In most court cases, its the defendant against the Crown. The reason for total impartiality in say an employment tribunal claim is that the two sides are against each other and do not include the Crown. Usually it’s the employee who submits a claim thus becoming the claimant and the employer who in having to repond to that claim, becomes the respondent. To be seen or heard giving advice to either party to a claim is wrong as the tribunal cannot take sides and certainly cannot be seen to be advising either side and if found to be doing so puts the whole case in jeopardy. So when claimants seek advice, they must be rapidly pointed towards either the citizens’ advice bureau, or if they belonged to a union, help from their rep or better still, if their home insurance includes legal cover, encourage them to place their claim through that department.